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Job 38:4-7

God’s questions to Job

38:4 “Where were you

when I laid the foundation 1  of the earth?

Tell me, 2  if you possess understanding!

38:5 Who set its measurements – if 3  you know –

or who stretched a measuring line across it?

38:6 On what 4  were its bases 5  set,

or who laid its cornerstone –

38:7 when the morning stars 6  sang 7  in chorus, 8 

and all the sons of God 9  shouted for joy?

1 tn The construction is the infinitive construct in a temporal clause, using the preposition and the subjective genitive suffix.

2 tn The verb is the imperative; it has no object “me” in the text.

3 tn The particle כּ (ki) is taken here for a conditional clause, “if you know” (see GKC 498 §159.dd). Others take it as “surely” with a biting irony.

4 tn For the interrogative serving as a genitive, see GKC 442 §136.b.

5 sn The world was conceived of as having bases and pillars, but these poetic descriptions should not be pressed too far (e.g., see Ps 24:2, which may be worded as much for its polemics against Canaanite mythology as anything).

6 sn The expression “morning stars” (Heb “stars of the morning”) is here placed in parallelism to the angels, “the sons of God.” It may refer to the angels under the imagery of the stars, or, as some prefer, it may poetically include all creation. There is a parallel also with the foundation of the temple which was accompanied by song (see Ezra 3:10,11). But then the account of the building of the original tabernacle was designed to mirror creation (see M. Fishbane, Biblical Text and Texture).

7 tn The construction, an adverbial clause of time, uses רָנָן (ranan), which is often a ringing cry, an exultation. The parallelism with “shout for joy” shows this to be enthusiastic acclamation. The infinitive is then continued in the next colon with the vav (ו) consecutive preterite.

8 tn Heb “together.” This is Dhorme’s suggestion for expressing how they sang together.

9 tn See Job 1:6.

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